If you’re reading this, I assume you’re either already aware of, or have at least been exposed to the concept of a Virtual Private Network (VPN).
Put simply, a VPN is a type of network connection that allows you to securely and privately access remote resources like servers, other devices, and private networks you connect to through a VPN. Thus, a VPN is also known as a private network connection.
That a VPN is a somewhat sophisticated concept, and if you’ve never really put much thought into how VPNs actually work, then this article is for you. Here, we’ll discuss the basics of VPNs so you can have a better understanding of how they function and what features you might need if you decide to use one.
What Is a VPN?
A VPN is a type of network connection that provides you with a secure and private way to access remote resources like servers, other devices, and private networks you connect to through a VPN. In other words, a VPN is a form of “remote access” that allows you to connect to a private network (or individual computer resources) that is either behind a firewall or otherwise restricted from direct access by people outside of a small group. A VPN is also referred to as a “Private Network Connection” or PNC.
To better understand what a VPN is and how it works, let’s examine how traditional network connections (like those you get bundled with your Internet service) work and how VPNs differ. First, the good news: they mainly differ in the way they provide connectivity to your devices rather than in what they offer in terms of security and privacy. Traditional network connections are fairly easy to use and understand; you connect your laptop or desktop to a modem or router, and you’re ready to go. In contrast, a VPN requires a bit more thinking because you need to consider various aspects like the type of device you’re using, the security needs of your environment, and what type of connectivity you’d like to use. Nonetheless, once you understand the basics, using a VPN is a cinch.
Why Should You Use a VPN?
Whether you’re conscious of it or not, you use VPNs every day. When you browse the web or send emails, you’re using a VPN. When you use a public Wi-Fi connection at the airport or café, you’re using a VPN.
As technology evolves, so do the ways we use it. Today, more and more people are using VPNs to secure their Wi-Fi connections whenever they’re connected to public networks. If you use public Wi-Fi at the airport, for example, you’ll want to make sure that your data is secure when you’re using applications like Netflix or WhatsApp. If you use these applications on your laptop or desktop, then your data will be encrypted as it travels over the network, making it harder for hackers to intercept and read your information. This level of security is known as VPN encrypts your connection and ensures that no one can eavesdrop on your communications and steal your data. As you can see, the benefits of using a VPN far outweigh the hassle of setting one up and using it regularly.
If you decide to use a VPN, then you have several options when it comes to the type of connection you require. You can get a traditional public VPN if you want to connect to a server (usually in the USA or Canada) that is located near your physical location. In this scenario, you would connect to the VPN server, and all the traffic between your device and the server would be encrypted. While this type of VPN is more convenient as you don’t have to think about which server to connect to, it has several drawbacks. First, if you’re not located in one of these countries, then you’re not going to get the benefits of legal privacy and protection that a public VPN provides. Second, if you’re connecting from one location to another (i.e. you’re moving from your home to work) then there’s no guarantee that the server you’re connecting to is physically located in the same place as your device. This could lead to some serious connectivity issues if the connection is not stable or robust enough. Finally, public VPNs aren’t free. You will have to pay for the service whether you use it or not. To ensure you get a good enough connection for the services you use, you will need to invest in a VPN plan.
If you decide to use a VPN, then you should opt for a paid plan from a reputable source. The more you pay, the better the service. For example, if you sign up for a free one-month trial for a top-tier VPN service, you will get a good enough connection that is stable and robust. After the trial expires, you will have to decide to continue paying or cancel your subscription. If you decide to pay, then you will get the benefits of a stable, private VPN connection regardless of whether you’re located in Canada or China. If you decide to continue paying, then you will get the added bonus of having a VPN that is fast enough for your needs. If you decide to cancel your subscription, then you will lose all the benefits of the VPN. This is why paid VPNs are often preferred over free ones because they provide better value for your money. When you compare the two, paying for a VPN that is stable and robust is highly recommended even if you’re not located in a country where you need the benefits of a VPN.
To recap, a VPN is a type of network connection that provides you with a secure and private way to access remote resources like servers, other devices, and private networks you connect to through a VPN. In other words, a VPN is a form of “remote access” that allows you to connect to a private network (or individual computer resources) that is either behind a firewall or otherwise restricted from direct access by people outside of a small group. A VPN is also known as a “Private Network Connection” or PNC.
With that in mind, let’s examine the various forms of VPNs and which one you should choose based on your needs.
Traditional, Public VPNs
If you decide to go with a traditional, public VPN, then you should opt for a VPN that is already configured to work with your specific Internet Service Provider (ISP). In other words, the VPN will need to be authenticated with your ISP so that they know you’re an authorized user and can connect you to their services. Furthermore, traditional public VPNs usually operate on shared infrastructure that can be potentially accessed by anyone with an Internet connection. If you connect to a public VPN from your home computer or mobile device, then it’s possible that someone else could potentially snoop on your activities even if they did not intend to.
Since most traditional, public VPNs are set up with shared infrastructure, they are prone to speed issues as well as potential downtime due to technical glitches or server maintenance. If you decide to use a traditional public VPN, then you should look for a reputable source that has good reviews and offers attractive pricing plans. You should also consider getting a VPN that is designed for use with Netflix or other content-streaming services so you don’t have to worry about being throttled by your ISP. As for the type of device you should use to connect to a VPN, any device that is capable of connecting to the Internet will suffice. You should, however, consider getting a dedicated device just for connecting to VPNs. This will help ensure that your personal data is kept secure and will also speed up the process of connecting to a VPN. If you decide to use a traditional public VPN, then your best option is to get one that is designed for use with Netflix or other content-streaming services. In this way, you can be sure that you’re not going to be throttled by your ISP, and you can get the added bonus of having a dedicated device just for connecting to VPNs. You should also try to avoid using free VPNs if your ultimate goal is to keep the content you watch and use personal information for private and secure purposes. Lastly, if you decide to use a traditional public VPN, then make sure to purchase a VPN plan that is already configured to work with your ISP. In other words, the VPN will need to be verified with your ISP before you can use it to connect to their services. Otherwise, you could potentially have problems.